I know. You’ve heard enough about Napoleon Hill and his best selling self-help handbook, “Think And Grow Rich.” You have had it up to here with the trans-generational do-it-yourself millionaire advice that you’re not even going to read it. Or maybe you did read it, and you “thought,” and you never got rich. Well, to quote Chief Dan George,
Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Maybe the fault is within, Bunky. Maybe you ain’t trying hard enough, because positive affirmations as a road to healing, wellness and success, keep reappearing throughout the ages. We cannot ignore this magical method. The US Army didn’t. And John Lennon didn’t.
Streamlining your goals down to several concise statements so you can see them, say them, hear them and eventually become them, is part of Hill’s message. Tapped by the immensely wealthy Andrew Carnegie during the mid-1930’s Depression to interview successful people so he could bottle and sell it, Hill found very common threads in all their stories and distilled them down to basic action steps, with affirmations being a daily and even by-the-minute tool.
Hill is not the only one. He’s just the most well know. And he wasn’t the first. Almost three thousand years ago King Solomon said , “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Jesus preached that the kingdom of God was within each of us. But it wasn’t until the fifteenth century when the French theologian and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, said, “Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” (Pensees 146). And it was Pascal who inspired Émile Coué.
The Father of Positive Affirmations
Coué combined his pharmacy training with psychology and when dispensing drugs. Actually, more of the father of advertising, Coué would use “autosuggestions” to enhance the actions of his drugs on his patients. He developed a sentence that they were to say to themselves, out loud, and over and over. “Every day and in every way, I am getting better and better.”
Coué begat Napoleon Hill and Emmet Fox who begat Louise Hay, Emma Curtis Hopkins (who labeled affirmations “True Words.”) When Norman Vincent Peale synthesized the same message with Christianity, the idea caught fire in the fifties with his mega-seller, “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Which brings us to Lennon. In his final album, John wrote the haunting lullaby, “Beautiful Boy,” for his son, Sean.
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better
The recent addition to the long line of believers is Mitch Horowitz who emphatically states, “Thoughts are causative.” His latest book, “One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life“, insists that “new wave” of positive thinking that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century is part of the fabric of American culture, from Rosie The Riveter to the US Army.
And it is official. Positive feedback rather than negative criticism yields a more productive team. So says a University of Michigan Business School study of 60 strategic business teams in an arcane formula that somehow says what we already know: more good response (by a factor of 5-1) trumps negative criticism. Like Carnation’s “Contented Cows,” make nice, produce nice.
I believe in my heart that this positive thinking trend will make you better.
Just try it. It works. It really does.